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Former Facebook employee makes explosive claims that tech giant ignored worldwide political manipulation: report

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One whistleblower claims Facebook disregarded evidence that fake accounts were used to undermine elections and political issues across the globe, with low-level overburdened employees arbitrarily leaving police malicious activity, according to BuzzFeed News.

Citing “an explosive memo sent by an employee recently fired on Facebook”, Announced BuzzFeed News on Tuesday now former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang has “concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or posing badly to influence public opinion.”

The bomb report, entitled “I have blood on my hands”: A whistleblower says Facebook ignores political manipulation, wrote reporters Craig Silverman, Ryan Mac and Pranav Dixit after receiving Zhang’s memo.

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“In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, it found evidence of coordinated campaigns of various sizes to increase or deter political candidates or results, although it did not always end up who was behind them,” he said. reports.

Zhang declined to speak to BuzzFeed News about the episode.

“We have built specialized teams, working with key experts, to stop bad actors from abusing our systems, resulting in the removal of more than 100 networks for coordinated non-authentic behavior,” said Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois in a statement to BuzzFeed. “Highly it involves a lot of the work that these teams do as their full-time task. Working against unauthorized coordinated behavior is our priority, but we are also addressing the problems of annoying mail and fake engagement. We investigate any issues with “Be careful, including what Ms. Zhang raises, before we take action or go out and make claims publicly as a company.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

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Zhang reportedly wrote that she found “numerous clear attempts by foreign governments to abuse our large-scale platform to defraud their citizenship” and “caused international news on many occasions”.

She claimed that her role on Facebook allowed her to make “decisions affecting national presidents without oversight” and took action against so many “prominent” politicians around the world that she lost the charge.

“In her post, Zhang said she did not want to go public out for fear of disrupting Facebook ‘s efforts to prevent problems around the upcoming US 2020 presidential election and because of concerns about her safety. BuzzFeed “News is publishing parts of its memorandum that are clearly in the public interest,” BuzzFeed wrote.

According to the report, BuzzFeed did not publish the entire memo because it contained personal information.

“I know I have blood on my hands now,” Zhang reportedly wrote.

“The memorandum is a damn account of Facebook’s failures. It’s the story of Facebook relinquishing responsibility for malicious activity on its platform that could affect the political destiny of nations outside the United States or Western Europe. “Also the story of a small employee who has tremendous moderation power that affects millions of people without any real institutional support and the personal effort that followed,” BuzzFeed reporters added before listing some of the “biggest revelations” in the memo. Zhang.

Zhang’s list includes claims that:

  • Facebook executives took nine months to act in a coordinated campaign using a fake fortune to raise Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez
  • The ruling party in Azerbaijan used thousands of fake assets … to “provoke the mass opposition”.
  • Facebook removes 10.5 million fake reactions and fans from high-profile politicians in Brazil and US in 2018 elections
  • A NATO researcher informed Facebook that he took a non-authentic Russian activity on a high-profile US political figure that we did not capture. “

Zhang’s memo is said to refer to “non-authentic activity” as “a Facebook term for engagement by bot accounts and coordinated manual accounts”.

BuzzFeed also noted that Zhang’s memorandum contained allegations that non-authentic activity was detected in both Bolivia and Ecuador but was not given priority by Facebook, the Spanish Ministry of Health Facebook used “coordinated manipulation” during the coronavirus pandemic and it helped to stop “a politically sophisticated network of more than a thousand actors working to influence” local elections in India.

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Zhang said she rejected a $ 64,000 disconnection package from Facebook to avoid signing a non-disclosure agreement, according to BuzzFeed.

“There were so many offensive behaviors around the world that it was left to my personal judgment as to which cases to investigate further, submit tasks and escalate to priority afterwards,” Zhang wrote in the memo, according to BuzzFeed.

“Without any oversight, I set off in a situation where I was entrusted with a major influence in my spare time … A Strategic Response manager thought to myself that most of the world outside the West was actually the Wild West by itself “I was like a part-time dictator – he thought of the statement as a compliment, but it illustrated the great pressures on me,” she continued.

The lengthy report details many more of Zhang’s claims, ranging from “a large-scale fake account network used to amplify and manipulate information about COVID-19” to Facebook allegedly ignoring the non-authentic activity of the case.

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She also reportedly criticized Facebook for spending too much time concentrating on annoying mail and said resources were limited when she prompted Facebook to crack down on “election-related malicious activity” and other related issues. .

“I was told that Facebook would no longer need my services if I refused,” Zhang wrote.

She was fired earlier this month and shared memos on her last day, according to BuzzFeed.

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